MITCH MORELAND – Sully Baseball Unsung Post Season Hero For October 30

 (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News) 10312010xSPORTS

(Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

When the 2010’s began, the World Series was a match up against two franchises not known for their October magic. The Giants had not won it all since 1954, when they called New York their home. The Rangers had only won one post season GAME going into 2010.

The Giants took control of the 2010 World Series early, but it was rookie Mitch Moreland’s bat that gave the Rangers life.

Texas won 14 of 15 in June to storm into first place. And unlike a lot of previous Rangers squads, Ron Washington’s team did not fade in the Lone Star State heat. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young provided the offense and Cliff Lee was picked up in midseason to boost the rotation.

Then in October, the confronted many of their post season demons. First they ended their 9 game playoff losing streak. They eliminated a tough Tampa Bay team to advance to their first ever ALCS. There they faced their nemesis, the Yankee. 6 games later, Hamilton and company eliminated the defending World Champs and finally went to the World Series.

But the Giants took the first two games and the Rangers returned to Arlington in a hole. The Giants pitching was dominant after upsetting the Phillies. Tim Lincecum got off to a rocky start in Game 1 but settled down to win it. Matt Cain dominated Game 2.

Game 3 pitted Colby Lewis and Jonathan Sanchez. The Giants deep bullpen was rested and the Rangers knew they had to get to Sanchez early to have a shot to make the world Series competitive.

The inconsistent left hander pitched around a single in the first and retired Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero.

In the bottom of the second, the Rangers got a lead off double from Nelson Cruz but it looked like it would go to waste when Ian Kinsler and Jeff Francoeur grounded out. After a walk to Bengie Molina, the Rangers sent up their number 9 hitter, Mitch Moreland.

Moreland was a 24 year old rookie who played only 47 games for the Rangers in 2010. The only reason he was the every day first baseman was because highly touted prospect Justin Smoak was sent packing to Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal. Moreland’s solid season in minor league Oklahoma City earned him a spot. Normally first base would be the spot for a slugging veteran. But Ron Washington trusted Moreland with the job.

He rewarded his manager with a .389 average in the ALCS. He was 3 for 5 over the first two World Series games. So clearly, he was not a typical number 9 hitter.

With the count 2 and 2 and Sanchez a pitch away from getting out of another inning, Moreland fouled off pitch after pitch. On the 9th pitch of the at bat, he lined it into the right field stands. The Rangers were up 3-0.

They added a fourth run and then hung on as a Giants comeback fell short and the Rangers won 4-2.

It would be Texas’ final hour as the Giants used Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson to shut down their mighty attack and take the series in 5. But with one hard fought for at bat, the Rangers had hope in the series. It was a moment lost in the end results of the series but not lost on this author.

That makes him the Unsung Post Season Hero of October 30.

Melky Cabrera to the Giants Has Been the Best Offseason Move so Far – A Bleacher Report Article

The Giants trading Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera didn’t get the most publicity this off season. But it is paying off in ways that even the most optimistic Giants fan couldn’t have pictured.

I wrote about it in Bleacher Report.

You can read the article HERE.

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My brilliant analysis of the Royals and Giants trade

The Royals sent Melky Cabrera to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez and minor league left hander Ryan Verdugo.
Now I have many Giants fan readers (and not just my dad.) And I got a lot of e mails and text messages asking “What do you think of the deal?” or “Why haven’t you talked about the trade?”
I guess with a few days to think about it, I have to supply my amazing and insightful breakdown of the deal.
I have no clue.
Seriously. How can ANYONE have a clue if this was a good trade?
Jonathan Sanchez? Sure he has talent. He’s left handed. He’s under 30. He won 13 games a few years ago and threw a no hitter a few years before that.
He also has had a grand total of one, count em, ONE noteworthy season as a big league pitcher. And even THAT season he could be agonizingly inconsistent. And only once did he post an ERA below 4.
And he did that in one of the best pitchers ballparks in the game. I felt the Giants should have traded him after the 2010 World Series when his value was at its peak and Bumgarner could take his spot in the rotation.
Instead Sanchez had an injury plagued 2011 and they HAD to deal him now or else they’d have nothing. 30 year old injury plagued pitchers don’t fetch what 29 year old injury plagued pitchers get on the market.
Will he pitch well for the Royals? Or was he a flash in the pan?
I don’t know. Neither do you.
They got Melky Cabrera who is better than anyone else in the Giants outfield. He had career highs in homers, RBI, stolen bases, batting average, OPS, OPS+ games played and plate appearances. He was OK with the Yankees for 4 years, lousy with the Braves for one before flourishing with the Royals.
Did he find himself?
Did he have a fluke good year?
Is he well suited for Kansas City?
Who can honestly say?
But he IS going from the American League and their many hitters parks to the worst hitters park in the game. Will that derail him? Or will he launch drives into the gap and stretch them to triples?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Thrown in for good measure is Ryan Verdugo. He had two very good seasons in the Giants farm system as a relief pitcher. So naturally everyone thought he’d make a great starting pitcher. (Classic Joba Chamberlain syndrome.)
He was eh as a starter for the Double A Flying Squirrels of Richmond. So naturally the Royals will probably keep him in the rotation. He’s 24, left handed and has a pulse, so he will pitch for the next 20 years.
Basically this is a team swapping question marks. The Royals needed an arm. The Giants needed a bat.
Who got the best of this?
Who got the worst?
No clue.
And it is hard hitting analysis like THIS that you can only find on Sully Baseball!

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